stigma, n. (pl.~s, & ~ta as specified below). 1. (arch.). Mark branded on slave, criminal etc. 2. Imputation attaching to person’s reputation ; stain on one’s good name. 3. (Path.) definite characteristic of some disease. - Concise Oxford Dictionary, 4th Edition
Photographer and artist Damien Schumann has spent the last eighteen months investigating the secrets and fears of people you socialise and work with, pass on the streets and are related to. He has studied issues that are always heard of happening to someone else, and reveals how frequently and how closely to the individual these issues are hitting. But one would never know as the stigma often attached to these, forces the subject into secrecy or denial.
In an attempt to motivate change and create dialogue, people from every corner of society have stepped forward and (many for the first time) have revealed the stigma attached to challenges they face in life. These include HIV, addiction, and anorexia, to name a few. This intimate collection of stories portrayed audibly and visually is a clear example that nothing is what is seems and that a key factor preventing change is a lack of acceptance.
The nature of Schumann’s documentary style is not to present a story, but to trap the viewer within the reality of the subject. These are not just pretty pictures; they illustrate the realities of the everyday struggle that is life. Schumann uses photography as a core medium and incorporates various other aspects, tangible and intangible, into his work to create installations and artworks that leave no place to hide.